ANNA Member Spotlight

Welcome to ANNA's monthly member spotlight. ANNA is a vibrant organization because of nurses like you! Your diverse experiences and unique perspectives make us a collective whole that is a masterpiece. We are proud of all the work each of you do.

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Maria S. Gonzales, RN, CNNe
Renal Specialist (retired)
Kaweah Delta Health Care District
San Joaquin Valley Chapter #532

 

How long have you been in nursing? 

Nursing was my third career. I started in my mid-forties. I have been in nursing 21 years.

How long have you been in nephrology?

I’ve been in nephrology nursing 21 years. I started on a renal floor doing CAPD first. From there, I moved within the organization, Kaweah Delta Health Care District, going from CAPD outpatient, chronic dialysis, acute dialysis, and back to CAPD home modality.

Why do you love nephrology?  

I love the diversity and the opportunity nephrology nursing has offered me. Throughout my career as a nephrology nurse, I have met incredible patients and their families. It has opened many doors and helped me grow professionally and personally – from a grassroots member of the San Joaquin Valley Chapter, to Chapters Coordinator-Elect, to Chapters Coordinator, to the ANNA Chapter Support Team (ACST) on a national level.

I love attending ANNA symposia, fall conferences, and the Volunteer Leaders Workshops. The meetings are an amazing time to meet colleagues from throughout the U.S. and foreign countries. There is a common bond among us to go above and beyond to help all persons young and old who have kidney disease. I love sharing new knowledge with my colleagues but especially with my patients. This is why I love nephology nursing!

What is your favorite ANNA member benefit and/or what do you love about being a member of ANNA?

The benefits are many: journal articles, publications, symposia, fall conferences, and so on. As an ANNA member, I love the connection and kindred spirit in the association at both the local and national levels. Not being born in this new age of technology (although I guess it’s not so new), my favorite benefit is ANNA Connected. It is so easy to connect with chapter members with just a simple click; plus, it’s easy to connect with the whole renal community. ANNA Connected is awesome!

Do you have a favorite patient story that reminds you why it's all worth it?

I have many fond memories of patients, both joyful and sad. One patient that sticks out is a young gentleman in his 30s on peritoneal dialysis. As a nephrology nurse, the goal was to get him well enough to receive a transplant. Being young, he was impetuous and a spur-of-the-moment person. He purchased an RV which offered him the opportunity to move about. One day we received a call that he had run out of supplies; he was in one of those large RV showrooms at their garage to have his RV repaired while he was living in it. It was a challenge explaining to his supplier where to deliver supplies. We never knew what to expect from him. The best part of my story is that he did receive a transplant, but he needed someone to take care of his dog, a loveable beagle named Snoopy. Guess what? I got to take care of Snoopy. I love this patient story!

What are your favorite hobbies and/or pastimes outside of nursing?

I enjoy camping with my beautiful daughter and grandkids. I love working in my yard and even talk to my many plants and succulents. I’m retired now, but still very active in the San Joaquin Valley Chapter. I volunteer for the city of Visalia and my church. I went to Spain in March, a dream since high school. That’s one thing I can cross off my “bucket list.”

What’s an interesting fact about you?

I am a Law and Order junkie. Way before ANNA, I was very involved with the March of Dimes and the Spina Bifida Association. My son David was born with spina bifida. Because of this involvement, I met many celebrities, including opera singer Beverly Sills as well as actors John Schneider, Timothy Dalton, and Michael J. Fox.

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